Evidence of polygamy in the socially monogamous Amazonian fish Arapaima gigas (Schinz, 1822) (Osteoglossiformes, Arapaimidae)

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Abstract

Arapaima gigas is one of the largest freshwater fishes of the world. It is socially monogamous, forming pairs, constructing a nest and providing parental care. We performed a paternity analysis under three scenarios in captive, semi-natural and natural areas using 10 microsatellite markers. As a positive control, we analyzed three pairs and their offspring isolated individually in artificial breeding ponds (a priori very high probability of monogamy). We then analyzed two samples of offspring from large artificial ponds with multiple adults but only one reproductive pair (a priori high probability of monogamy), two samples from semi-natural breeding station with multiple adults but only one reproductive pair (a priori high probability of monogamy), and a sample from a natural lake with multiple adults, some potentially breeding (a priori medium probability of monogamy). Analysis of patterns of Mendelian heredity suggested an extra-pair contribution for all broods except the positive controls. Similarly, results based on multilocus analysis estimated at least two sib-groups per nest. These results reject monogamy as a system of breeding in Arapaima gigas. From a management perspective, this behavior may be exploited to maintain genetic diversity in captive and as well in wild populations of Arapaima gigas.

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Farias, I. P., Leão, A., Almeida, Y. S., Verba, J. T., Marcelo, C. M., Honczaryk, A., & Hrbek, T. (2015). Evidence of polygamy in the socially monogamous Amazonian fish Arapaima gigas (Schinz, 1822) (Osteoglossiformes, Arapaimidae). Neotropical Ichthyology, 13(1), 195–204. https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-0224-20140010

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